Monomer vs Polymer: Difference and Comparison

A Molecule is nothing but a group of a minimum of two atoms. These result in the formation of a small, identifiable unit in which a specific pure substance can be separated.

However, the composition and chemical properties of the substance can be retained. Monomers and Polymers are two of the many such molecules.

Key Takeaways

  1. Monomers are single, small molecules, while polymers comprise multiple monomers.
  2. Polymers exhibit different properties than their constituent monomers, displaying enhanced strength, durability, and flexibility.
  3. Monomers undergo polymerization, a chemical reaction that creates polymers by forming covalent bonds between monomer units.

Monomer vs Polymer

The difference between Monomer and Polymer is that monomers are the small singular units that form polymers, and polymers are the combinations of many monomers. The two molecules are related to each other. However, they are both two separate molecules that have differences in their complexity, weight, and units.

Monomer vs Polymer

A Monomer refers to a molecule belonging to any class of compounds, organic, that are capable of reacting with other molecules for the formation of larger molecules or polymers.

The capacity of a monomer to form chemical bonds with other monomers is called Polyfunctionality. It is also an essential feature of monomers.

A polymer refers to a molecule that is formed by very large molecules or monomers. When large molecules or multiple monomers combine with each other, they form a polymer.

Some of the polymers are natural and are made by organisms. The properties of a polymer make it an essential part of everyday life.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonMonomer Polymer
OriginThe word monomer has derived from the Greek words ‘mono ‘and ‘meros,’ which mean one part. The word monomer has derived from the Greek words ‘polu’ and ‘meros, ‘which mean many parts.
MeaningThey refer to the singular units, which are the building blocks of polymers.They refer to the macromolecules that are built of many blocks of monomers. 
ComplexityThey are simpler molecules. They are molecules that are more complex.
Molecular weightTheir molecular weight is low.Their molecular weight is high.
UnitsIt can be made up of various combination units.It always contains a single repetitive unit.

What is Monomer?

In simple terms, monomers are singular units, and when they combine, they form a larger molecule or a polymer. Monomers can be defined as rather simple molecules having multiple binding sites.

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These cited help in forming covalent linkages with other monomers to form macromolecules; these include proteins, starch, and various other polymers. Therefore monomers are polymer’s building blocks.

Archetypal plasmonic structures refer to monomers and their dimer counterparts. Origin and synthesis are the two bases for classifying a monomer.

There are natural monomers like Amino acids, Isoprene, Nucleotides, Glucose, and related Sugars. Glucose, vinyl chloride, amino acids, and ethylene are the most commonly known monomers. 

There are different ways in which a monomer can link up to a polymer. Amino acids, nucleotides, monosaccharides, and fatty acids are the big monomers. Whereas proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, and lipids are the main forms of monomers.

Linear, chainlike polymers can be formed by Bifunctional monomers.

Cross-linked and Network polymers can be formed by higher functionality monomers. Characteristics of monomers include Addition reactions.

These consist of a double bond between two atoms or a ring of 3 to 7 atoms. The monomers having two or more reactive atomic groups are a kind of Condensation polymerization.

What is Polymer?

A polymer refers to a substance that is made of very large molecules or macromolecules. These molecules are formed by the repetition of many small units. They offer a broad spectrum of properties.

These properties are synthetic as well as natural. And due to these properties, they have a significant role in our day-to-day life.

Polymers exist in various structures that can be found in plastic as well as naturally in an individual’s DNA. Both natural and synthetic polymers are created or formed by smaller molecules, monomers.

Toughness, high elasticity, and viscoelasticity are some of their special physical properties. Polymer science is the field of study which is based on Polymers.

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A lot of materials that have prime importance in living organisms are Polymers. They are also a base for materials like quartz, diamonds, and glass. Even organic polymers are essential in living beings, for various bodily functions.

High Polymer is a polymer that has very large monomers. Some polymers have only one type of monomer. However, they do not necessarily have the same chemical composition, same structure, or even the same weight.

Copolymers are polymers made up of different types of monomers.


Main Differences Between Monomer and Polymer

  1. The word monomer has derived from the Greek words ‘mono ‘and ‘meros’, which mean one part. The word Polymer has derived from the Greek words ‘polu’ and ‘meros‘, which mean many parts.
  2. Monomers refer to the singular units, which are the building blocks of polymers. Polymers refer to macromolecules that are built of many blocks of monomers. 
  3. A monomer is a simpler molecule. Polymers are molecules that are more complex.
  4. The molecular weight of Monomers is low. The molecular weight of Polymers is high.
  5. Monomers can be made up of various combination units. Polymers always contain a single repetitive unit.

Last Updated : 27 July, 2023

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23 thoughts on “Monomer vs Polymer: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The article’s breakdown of monomers and polymers is very informative. It’s a topic that’s misunderstood, so it’s great to see it explained so clearly.

  2. The examples used to illustrate monomers and polymers are really helpful in understanding their application in different materials and compounds.

  3. The discussion on the physical properties of polymers and the diverse structures in which they exist is enlightening. Really adds depth to the understanding of polymers.

  4. The role of polymers in everyday life, both synthetic and natural, is an important point that is well highlighted in the article. Well-researched and presented.

  5. The section explaining the synthesis of monomers and the different types of polymerization is fascinating. It adds depth to the discussion of monomers and polymers.

  6. The detailed explanation of monomers and polymers, from their molecular composition to real-world applications, makes this article a valuable resource for understanding these fundamental units.

  7. The breakdown of the characteristics of different monomers and polymers is very informative. It helps in understanding their versatility and applications.

  8. The thorough explanation of the synthesis, composition, and characteristics of monomers and polymers delivers a deep understanding of these fundamental molecular units.

    • Absolutely, the comprehensive overview of monomers and polymers provides a holistic understanding of their properties and applications.

    • I completely agree. The article presents a comprehensive study of monomers and polymers, allowing readers to delve into their complexities.


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